Emily's Reviews > Drood

Drood by Dan Simmons
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's review
Mar 15, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: mysterious-galaxy-recommended, mysteryhistoricalfiction19th-centur, historical-fiction-victorian
Recommended to Emily by: Sam @ MG
Read in March, 2009 , read count: 1

Overall, Drood is well paced, well researched, and a very enjoyable book. The opening lines instantly became some of my favorites. Buying the novel purely on the recommendation of on of my favorite bookstores, I hadn't read the jacket cover, so I didn't realize that Wilkie Collins is the narrator. I admit, I gave a rather embarrassing squeal of delight when I saw his name.

But even if the names Collins, Dickens, or Simmons are completely unknown to you, the book still holds up on its own. The opening lines still draw you in, and the story as a whole still holds your attention. But, if you are familiar with the authors, the time period, etc, the experience becomes much richer.

There are some really clever conceits within the novel that play off of its nineteenth-century literary setting. With historical novels or novels about novelists, there is a danger of being annoyingly obvious in displaying the author's research or thoughts on writing. Simmons avoids this trap. The research does what it should: it creates the world the characters inhabit. It is obvious, though, that it is very well researched. There are references to Dickens (and many British other authors) battling with the incredibly loose piracy laws in the US, as well as the less savory biographical details of the characters. Before reading it, I'd worried that it might present the Dickens of Dickens own PR, but it didn't. It gives readers Dickens in all his complicated glory. The same goes for all of the historical figures that play roles in the story.

One of the reasons it was so hard to put this novel down was that its set up a bit like a serialized novel. Each chapter gives a bit of a conclusion while still building suspense for the next installment.

What I enjoyed most was that the story gives you small details to catch that add to the larger mystery. But the mystery - while it does have a conclusion - does not really offer a pat resolution. New revelations lead to new questions. This is largely because this book (like the ones being written in the novel) is drawing on several genres, but not confining itself to just one: it is a mystery, historical fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, psychological drama and more. And perhaps the frequent references to Thackeray (who never actually appears), it is a story without a hero . . . and that is why I like it so much.
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Reading Progress

03/09/2009 page 63
8.13% "I'm being slowed down though because I keep rereading the opening lines. They are awesome!"

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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie ooh I want to read this, look forward to your review.

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